ZipCar vs Uber - Is Zipcar still a viable alternative to Uber?

When Zipcar is Better than Uber

Uber is a global name that represents the first ride-share app company and is a brand name used to represent most of the sector. In fact, there are many ride-share companies such as Lyft and Side-Car and more. With all of these ride-share options what has really happened? Basically, the world received an extra logistical package or transportation solution, before Uber there were taxi's and delivery services, car rentals and drive yourself options.

Zipcar is a car rental company, a subsidiary of Avis, and it offers a unique driving option that can sometimes be better than Uber or a taxi. We will show briefly in this article the times Zipcar can be better than Uber.

A quick glance at Zipcar

  • Zipcars are found in and parked in specific areas around cities and towns in the US, and they are mainly seen around college and university campuses.
  • A Zipcar can be rented for a short period of 30 minutes to a seven day period.
  • You have to create a Zipcar account and be given a Zipcar credit card.
  • Once you have an account, you can order a car up to one hour before you need it.
  • Locate your car and use your Zipcar credit card to enter the vehicle.
  • You have a 180 mile limit per day, anything over that will cost more.
  • Most cities set round trips as mandatory, so you will need to return it to its parking place.
  • Baltimore, Boston, Denver, LA, Seattle, and DC allow one-way trips.
  • Fuel and insurance are included in the fee.
  • Zipcar is also found in some cities around the world.

When Zipcar beats Uber

  1. Being on Time
    You need to get to a meeting, it could be a job interview, you have a one hour window for the meeting, and it takes roughly fifteen minutes each way. If you order Uber or a taxi you have to take into consideration pickup time, cancellations, traffic with a driver that is not you. Then after the meeting, you have to arrange another pickup, etc. With Zipcar you drive off, park, go to the meeting, get out, drive off and park again. If the meeting is in an area where parking is a problem or is expensive than this reason becomes void.

  2. Long Trips
    When you need to take a long trip, maybe 90 miles away, and the day will be around 18 miles in total, which is an $80 Zipcar day, then I's worth it, because Uber's permille rate is around $0.90, so that means you will pay them for both ways a total of over $200 (including per minute fees and more).

  3. Multi-Stop
    Another good reason, if you have more than three stops to make then Uber is a problem. This one is great if you also have a friend that can get in and out saving you time to park.

  4. Fare Sharing
    Just like a pool ride with Uber, but you get to choose your passengers, so it becomes a happy trip and not a black hole of uncertainty. You also decide how to travel to your destination.

When Uber beats Zipcar

  1. One-way trip
    Since Zipcar usually returns to where you found it a car, then one-way trips are best to us Uber, Lyft or a Taxi.

  2. Drinking
    If you plan on drinking, don't drive.

  3. Airports
    If you are picking up a passenger, family member from the airport it is better to take an Uber or Taxi, the parking time can cost a lot, and the pickup areas are usually quite a walk from where you park.

  4. Zipcar application
    This requires a longer and costlier procedure than Uber or Lyft, while it can be done quickly, it is still an issue to consider.

  5. No driving license
    For some reason you don't have a license, it doesn't matter why without one, you cannot rent a Zipcar.

Now let's look at the operational side of Zipcar, what is involved with registration and what Zipcar offers.

Zipcar Application

These are the basic requirements to join Zipcar:

  • The applicant must be over 21 years old (or over 18 in certainly affiliated campuses)
  • A valid driving license, not necessarily the US
  • A clean driving record

Zipcar Fees

Zipcar uses two methods:

Membership fees that are set according to the package that you choose. There is a one-time application fee of $25 and monthly or annual fees applicable.

Rental reservation fees that are around $10 per hour. Daily rental rates are approximately $80.

Zipcar one day or less rental reservations

  • You get 180 miles
  • An additional $0.045 per mile for standard cars
  • An additional $0.55 per mile for premium cars and vans
  • A $10 per hour fee

Zipcar reservations over one day

  • 180 miles per day every day

  • 20 miles more per hour until you reach the daily 180 miles (of your total reservation)

  • An additional $0.045 per mile for standard cars

  • An additional $0.55 per mile for premium cars and vans

  • An $80 per day fee

How to reserve a Zipcar

Go to the Zipcar website or app and check on all the cars available in your area. Choose the car you want and reserve it online. You can do this up to one hour before you need the car.

Remember that most cities require you drop off the car from whence you found it, check to see if your city is one of the few that allow one-way trips.

Zipcar Models and Makes

Zipcar offers a few models and makes, they are:

Compact: Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla

Vans: Ford Transit, Ford E

Picking up a Zipcar

Once you have signed up you will receive a special Zipcar credit card, here is what you will do with it:

  • Find the car using the Zipcar information in your reservation and check to see that the "name" in the back window sticker is your cars name.
  • By waving the Zipcard in front of the box in the front windshield, you will unlock the doors.
  • Start to drive
  • Make sure you return the Zipcar with a quarter full tank. If it is less, then you must fill it up to be at least a quarter tank full.
  • There is a gas card in the glove compartment; fuel is included in the price, so you can use that to add the missing fuel.

Zipcar Insurance

Zipcar has an insurance plan in place for every rental; it includes the following coverage in the rental policy:

  • Bodily injury per person $100,000
  • Bodily injury maximum $300,000
  • Property Damage $25,000
  • Deductible $1,000
  • For $5 - $10 per month you waive the deductible.